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Mini Truck Garden Contests Showcase Mini Gardens in “Kei” Trucks
Starting around 10 years ago, but gaining popularity in recent years, communities and organizations around Japan are holding “kei” truck garden contests, where participants create gardens on the backs of their trucks. Although the specific rules vary by contest and organizer, the main rule is to create a garden that is contained within the bed of a Kei truck. Since the dimensions of a “kei” or mini vehicle is defined by law, currently length under 3.40m, width under 1.48m and height under 2.00m, most “kei” trucks share a similar bed size of 1.94m long by 1.41m wide. This size restriction means that the contestant must be very creative on how they use their limited space to showcase their garden.
The contests are often held at the parking lot of regional events such as a local tulip fair. Both the event and the “kei” truck garden contest benefit from people who would otherwise only be interested in one or the other.
Most of the contestants are local landscaping businesses who appreciate the chance to show off their gardening skills and creativity to potential customers and the general public. The contests are often held across 2 days, where the morning of the first day is used for the construction of the garden. The rest of the first day and the second day are used for competition. Contrary to popular belief, the trucks, for the most part, are not driven with the gardens attached as the legal weight limit for cargo on the “kei” trucks is only 350kg. Voting is done by pre chosen judges and the visitors are also encouraged to cast their vote for the “people’s choice” award.
Although some contests have different themes chosen by the organizer, such as “Japanese Garden” or “Western Garden”, most do not have a specific theme and allow the contestants to create what they wish. In recent years, some gardens have even stared featuring water elements such as a small pond for fish and water wheels. Bonsai and other small vegetation, along with moss are used to create the image that the garden has been plucked out of nature.
For contests sponsored by the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors, the trucks are displayed with a price tag so that the visitors will know how much it would cost to hire the landscape artist to create a similar style garden for their yard.
At the end of the event there is a small ceremony where the judges declare their winners and the visitors votes are tallied to choose the people’s choice awards. There are rarely any prizes other than a certificate, bragging rights over your fellow landscapers, and perhaps a new client or two.
Although various import rules and regulations strictly prohibit the transport of vegetation to your country, Japan Car Direct LLC can certainly help you find a “kei” truck, or any other vehicle, from a dealer auction or used car lot and help you ship it to your country for a very reasonable price. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any and of your import needs!